WHO vult finem, vult mediam …. He who desires the end must desire the means to that end. Our Constitution announces one of the policies of the State: “The State recognizes the sanctity of family life and must protect and strengthen the family as a basic autonomous social institution …” My thesis is simple:
We want a strong society. So let’s have strong families. We want strong families. Protect marriage.
It is important, unlike other constitutional provisions which provide that the state “shall”, with regard to the “sanctity of family life” which the state recognizes. There is therefore an inherent character to family life which makes the Constitution recognize that family life is more than a human artifice, a fictitious creature of the law, like corporations and negotiable instruments. He uses a term one would not expect to find in a constitution: “holiness”. The family has an inherent and binding character which, in an ontological sense, precedes and precedes the law.
Article 15 takes over the family, this time in enforceable provisions. Marriage, according to our Constitution, is an “inviolable social institution” and is the foundation of family life – and as such, it will be protected by the state. There is no doubt that the framers of the Constitution had in mind the permanent and stable union of a man and a woman. In fact, to recognize it as the “foundation” of the family is to recognize the unique attributes of the union of a man and a woman. Significantly enough, the Constitution expressly guarantees that “the state upholds the right of spouses to found a family in accordance with their religious convictions and the requirements of responsible parenthood”.
Unless we are prepared to do violence for constitutional purposes – God forbid! – then it should be clear that Congress cannot pass a law that dilutes the concept of marriage so much that it ceases to be what the Constitution envisioned. From a purely constitutional point of view, nothing prevents same-sex partners from living together and maintaining a common life. The Catholic Church has problems with this, let’s be clear, not just for religious reasons, but what it takes to be precepts of reason or what has traditionally been called “natural law”. For fear of denigrating any reference to “natural law” as a vestige of medieval thought, it would be good to take note of the fact that retired Chief Justice Reynato Puno (then Associate Judge) wrote a separate scholarly opinion – in fact a natural law treaty – in Republic of the Philippines v. Sandiganbayan (2003). After quoting Thomas Aquinas and Locke and taking the position “natural law” is what underlies written constitutions, he writes:
In summary, natural law and natural rights are not relict theories for academic discussion, but have had considerable application and influence. Natural law and natural rights theories played an important role in the Declaration of independence, the abolition (anti-slavery) movement Charging the Nazi and Japanese leaders with “crimes against humanity” at the end of World War II, the Allied courts in 1945 invoked the traditional concept of natural law Likewise, natural law, although called by another name such as “substantive due process” which is based on reason and fairness, has served as a legal standard for international law, centuries of development in English common law and certain aspects of American constitutional law. In controversies involving the Bill of Rights, natural law norms of “reasonableness” ity ”and“ equity ”or“ justified on the balance sheet ”are used. Questions like these are common: “Does this form of government involvement in religion endanger religious freedom in a way that seems unfair to some groups?” Does allowing this restriction of expression open the door to government abuses of political opponents? Does this practice of police investigation interfere with the legitimate interests of citizens in matters of confidentiality and security? Undeniably, the theories of natural law and natural rights have carved out a place for themselves in the legal and political arena. “
Human reason lays down precepts that some things are considered reasonable, others unreasonable. The long evolution of the human species and its processes of “society” justify the premium that the Constitution grants to marriage as the basis of the family. Any other union is incapable of providing the same foundation that the Constitution finds in the stable and permanent union of husband and wife.
But protecting marriage also means preventing it from becoming a farce by the ease with which we can get out of it. In the first place, it is also up to the State – as to the Church – to guarantee the maturity of those who enter it.
I am not unaware of Obergefell v. Hodges (2015), but first, the United States Constitution does not have the family and marriage provisions that the Philippine Constitution does; second, it bases the right to same-sex marriage on individual autonomy. But can the autonomy of the individual go so far as to demolish or reorient the fundamental institutions of human life, especially when these are neither “fictitious” (simple creations of law) nor arbitrary? At a time when we let go of the natural right of reflection on marriage, on what grounds should sexual relations with prepubescent minors and even adolescents be condemned? The reason we have laws protecting children from sexual predators is because of our “natural” aversion to it – the result of human reason at work discerning right from wrong.
If two people of the same sex want their partnership to be protected, there are now laws that help achieve that goal. We have Civil Code provisions on partnerships, and if Congress wishes, it can pass laws that provide for “civil unions” or “civil cohabitation pacts” as other jurisdictions have done.
The Church will always find these problems however.
And this should be clear: no bishop or priest will ever ask a person for guidance before giving a blessing. Therefore, it is not true that the Catholic Church will not bless members of the LGBTQ + community. What he will not bless is a union that he considers a violation of the precepts of natural law, of his theology of the human person and of the sacramentality of marriage.
No, this will not dilute marriage, to mutilate an institution which has its foundations in natural law and, more directly, which enjoys the protection of the Constitution.